Gertie Presents

Power of the Femme

A FREE Event on Friday, November 17*
6PM | Conversation in Steppenwolf's Balcony Bar
7:30PM | Performance of POTUS in the Downstairs Theater 
(tickets not included)

Join us before the bawdy and irreverent performance of POTUS, for an exciting pre-show conversation with Director Audrey Francis, Frankye Payne and April S. Williams-Luster. This panel will discuss themes explored in the play regarding what it means to be a female identifying leader in today's world. We're no longer breaking glass ceilings, we're creating and rebuilding our own spaces. We're taking charge and you're invited to be part of this powerful celebration.

*This conversations is FREE, but tickets are required to attend the performance of POTUS.


Meet the Panelists

Audrey Francis currently serves as Artistic Director of Steppenwolf Theatre, alongside Glenn Davis, where she has been an Ensemble member since 2017. She is an actor, director, educator, and coach. Recent Steppenwolf performing credits include The Herd, Between Riverside and Crazy, The Fundamentals, Doppelgänger (an International Farce), and Dance Nation. Recent TV credits include Justified: City Primevil, Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, and Empire. Recent film credits include Knives and Skin, Later Days, Distant Learners and the upcoming Perpetrator. She has taught acting in New York, LA, Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne, as well as at The University of Chicago, The Theatre School at DePaul and The School at Steppenwolf. Audrey is a professional acting coach for Showtime, NBC, Fox, and Amazon and is the co-founder of Black Box Acting.


Frankye Payne is a native of Chicago, who has over eleven years of experience in architecture, community development, and urban planning. She serves as a project leader and manager for various communities within the City of Chicago. Her focus is on grassroots organizations and non-profits. Throughout her career, she has been a community advocate and brings a unique perspective to city initiatives as the Director of Chicago Main Streets. Frankye strives for support and equality in Chicago's underserved communities, with the goal of fostering development, political, and economic growth. She holds a bachelor's degree in Urban and Regional Planning and Community Development, as well as a master's degree in Architectural Engineering. Frankye is passionate about improving neighborhoods through programs and best practices, to help communities thrive


April S. Williams-Luster has dedicated her professional journey to the field of public service, amassing a wealth of experience across various tiers of government, spanning from local to federal levels. At present, she holds the esteemed position of Director of Government Affairs at the City of Chicago Treasurer’s Office. In this pivotal role, she adeptly manages a multifaceted portfolio of relationships, encompassing local, state, and federal spheres, all strategically orchestrated to advance the programs and policies championed by the Chicago Treasurer’s Office.